By Jamie Short
Vice President, Marketing
Frost & Sullivan
Digital technologies and marketing tactics are continuously changing. However, the use of storytelling to strengthen a brand is as powerful today as it was fifty years ago. Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to capture interest, educate an audience, and create a connection between a brand and its buyers to drive revenue and increase customer retention.
Marketing mediums range from blogs, video, social and multimedia channels, but the foundation of compelling storytelling is consistent.
Here are eight ways to ensure that your storytelling strengthens your brand:
1. Know Your Audience: No matter how exciting the story, if it does not resonate with your audience, a mark could be missed. By going through the exercise of defining the buyer persona and determining the voice of your brand, you can better identify the stories that will resonate most with your audience and increase the chances the content will be embraced, remembered and shared with others.
2. Stick with the Basics: Who, What and Why? Embrace the basics and storyboard the most straightforward elements to ensure they are well crafted. Who will tell your story? Why does your story matter? When and where will the story be told? Who are the characters? What is the end goal or objective you are hoping to achieve through the story? Having a well-crafted narrative will help attract, engage and keep your buyers coming back for more.
3. Be Compelling: Understanding what buyers want, need and find entertaining will help to shape the direction of the stories told. Buyers are more apt to engage with content that confirms assumptions, challenges beliefs, educates, provides a fresh point of view, entertains, inspires, reveals secrets, reminds us of simpler times, or sparks our curiosity in what is possible for the future.
4. Find Your Rock Star! Humanize the Brand: No matter how flashy the widget, at the end of the day, people buy from people. The most effective brand stories use emotion to connect on a human level. Brands can have more impact when the buyers feel a unique connection with a person.
5. Balance Today with Tomorrow: Storytelling should have a mix of insight into the latest trends and current events as well as compelling stories that will be as powerful today as they will be next year. The power of content marketing is that it can potentially attract and send traffic your way for years to come.
6. Appeal to the Heart as well as the Mind: Good storytelling strikes a chord on an emotional level but must be backed by compelling data to support reasoning and validity. Find the story and then explore the data to present your solution or prompt the desired response. Pictures, graphics, and even charts can be a beneficial way to visually communicate a story effectively.
7. Don’t Fear Conflict: Every great story has a conflict, challenge, adversity and the reason that the reader stays curiously engaged. Emphasizing problems your customers are facing is the first step in communicating how you can help solve the problems in their world.
8. Watch Your Language: Avoid the technical jargon. Some of the best stories do not communicate how something works, but rather what it can do for the buyer. There are a time and a place for engineers and analysts to share stories on bells, whistles, and features. However, most consumers may not want to hear technical speak first. To capture attention and warm up the buyer more efficiently, create stories that are conversational, relatable and sound like they are being told by a real person.
Through genuine messaging, you can breathe personality into your story that aligns with your brand’s mission and values, and appeals to your ideal customer.
Jamie Short, Vice President of Marketing at Frost & Sullivan, is a growth-driven marketing professional with experience in advertising, marketing, business development, strategic planning and communications, spanning multiple industries. Jamie possesses a robust combination of business savvy and appreciation for the sales process, which helps her to develop scalable strategies to elevate brand positioning and create breakthrough campaigns.
Previous to Frost & Sullivan, Jamie held progressive positions in Technical Marketing, Channel Marketing and finally as Brand Marketing Director at Digital Defense, Incorporated, a highly ranked provider of managed security risk assessment solutions. Before that, Jamie was the Lead for Marketing Services at J2O Designs Incorporated, a strategic web design and marketing firm.